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A Remote Synthetic Testbed For Human-Robot Teaming: An Iterative Design Process
DescriptionUrban Search and Rescue (USAR) missions often involve a need to complete tasks in hazardous environments. In such situations, human-robot teams (HRT) may be essential tools for future USAR missions. Transparency and explanation are two information exchange processes where transparency is real-time information exchange and explanation is not. For effective HRTs, certain levels of transparency and explanation must be met, but how can these modes of team communication be operationalized? During the COVID-19 pandemic, our approach to answering this question involved an iterative design process that factored in our research objectives as inputs and pilot studies with remote participants. Our final research testbed design resulted in converting an in-person task environment to a completely remote study and task environment. Changes to the study environment included: the utilization of user-friendly video conferencing tools such as Zoom and a custom-built application for research administration tasks, and improved modes of HRT communication that helped us avoid confounding our performance measures.